Michelle van Gilder
Michelle van Gilder is founder and interim executive director of The Africa Narrative (TAN), a non-profit that develops initiatives in support of African creatives and the African cultural and creative industries. Through programs and initiatives centered on research, content creation, awards and fellowships, and large-scale campaigns and events, TAN aims to strengthen capacity in the continent's creative economy and amplify the global visibility of African cultural soft power. She is also the founder of CCGlobal, a consultancy that develops campaigns and initiatives to strengthen engagement between the United States and the rest of the world.
Among her current projects include Lead with Exports, a campaign aimed at boosting the number of American exporters launching in 2023 and modeled on Lead with Languages, a campaign she conceived and spearheaded for the American Council on Foreign Languages (ACTFL) to boost foreign language education in the United States. She is also executive producer of two documentary series in development, one centered on African creatives and the other on the U.S. African Diaspora.
Michelle was previously vice president at opinion research firm Zogby International where she oversaw the firm’s international practice, providing research and strategic communications strategies for US and foreign government agencies, Fortune 500 companies, NGOs, and international media. Before then she served both in New York and London as vice president of Hollinger Digital, the new media arm of Hollinger International, then among the world’s largest newspaper companies and owner of properties that included the UK's Daily Telegraph and The Chicago Sun-Times. She started her career at the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington DC think tank, as press and communications aide in the Foreign Policy Studies department.
Michelle has a BA in West European Studies from the College of William & Mary. The daughter of a US diplomat, she was raised in France, Morocco, Lebanon, and Algeria and speaks French and Italian. She sits on the board of the Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) and served on the board of the Global Film Initiative, Advisory Board of Business for Diplomatic Action, and the William & Mary Arts Entertainment Council.